Filled with wildly funny inventive characters, mini-games that would land you a death sentence if they were real, and a simple design, Rayman’s latest outing comes come together nicely on this late Xbox 360 port.
As with any mini-game collection since Wario Ware, each play becomes a small game that either works or fails miserably. Raving Rabbids recovers nicely from the inaccurate Wii controls, though the standard controller design does lead to some problems of its own.
Starting as a simple yet stunning platformer back on the Atari Jaguar and then splitting onto countless other consoles, Rayman is an undervalued creation of Michael Ancel, and has somehow ended up here. Gone are the days of millions of colors on screen, now replaced by bleak stages littered with dark humor. This is a series definitely headed in a new direction, though one that seems to be pushing Rayman to the side for the sake of the Rabbids.
The series has turned into various genres over the years, but has seemingly forgotten its roots. The only direct control over Rayman is when you’re moving into the next mini-game inside an arena to perform for the Rabbids. These sick, priceless and totally expendable critters are the best use of cute bunnies since Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Rayman has become their only source of entertainment after he’s captured, and they’ll abuse him in countless ways for their amusement.
This leads into 70+ mini-games that require a wide variety of moves to conquer. Each “day” in the arena lasts four games (not including one extended “boss” round), and you need to conquer at least three to move on. Some games struggled to come together on the Wii. Motions wouldn’t respond, rapidly moving the controller was tiring, and the benefits in terms of fun were lost. On the 360, everything is responsive, and game becomes far easier than it used to be, only making the missed motions on the Wii all the more apparent.
In a failed attempt to salvage the Wii’s concept of motion control, Raving Rabbids is one of the few games to support the Vision camera. Like the free game that launched with it, Totemball, this idea makes the games that use it completely impossible to play. Movements just won’t register, though mercifully they’re optional even with the camera attached.
Everything else in Raving Rabbids is fine for the most part. The vast majority of the games are enjoyable, and with a few friends, this can become an absolute blast. The minuscule story is told through brief cinematics, and Rayman stops being a mere prisoner and Rabbids literally start rolling out the red carpet for him as he continues to have success in their challenges. The graphics have barely received an upgrade for the 360 edition, and there are some frame rate issues that remain unfixed from the Wii.
The world, the design and the concept are in place. Raving Rabbids can finally pick up enough momentum to be an enjoyable mini-game romp. While it’s a derivative concept, there’s fun to be had now that everything is working as needed.
Video game rentals provided for review by NumbThumb.
Rayman – Raving Rabbids is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence and Comic Mischief. This game can also be found on: GBA, Nintendo DS, PC, PS2, and Wii.Powered by Sidelines